Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bernie Goldmann
|Produced by||Fisher Stevens
|Written by||Melisa Wallack|
|Distributed by||First Look International|
|Running time||97 minutes|
Meet Bill (formerly known as Bill) is a 2007 comedy film written and directed by Bernie Goldmann and Melisa Wallack and starring Aaron Eckhart as the titular character, with supporting performances by Logan Lerman, Jessica Alba, Elizabeth Banks, and Timothy Olyphant.
The story revolves around Bill (Aaron Eckhart), an overweight, middle-aged man dissatisfied with himself and his life. He works at his father-in-law, Mr. Jacoby's (Holmes Osborne) bank, where he has a meaningless, made-up job, and his in-laws don't take him seriously, especially his brother-in-law. Jacoby is a pillar in the community and is considering a mayoral run. Bill and Jess, his wife (Elizabeth Banks) live in a house provided by her father and lead a comfortable lifestyle. Bill is trying to purchase a doughnut franchise with the Whitmans (Jason Sudeikis & Kristen Wiig), a friendly married couple who own the franchise business. Bill's interest in purchasing a franchise is an attempt to wean himself and his wife off Jacoby's finances. At a public donation ceremony sponsored by his in-laws, Bill first meets "the Kid" (Logan Lerman), a spunky and easygoing teenager, who is running from the school principal. In the hallway, after the principal suggests a school mentoring program, he sees his wife talking with Chip Johnson (Timothy Olyphant), the local, pompous newscaster. Bill begins to get mildly suspicious, and also begins to "mentor" the Kid. Before a hunting trip with his in-laws and their pupils, he places a hidden camera in his and Jess' bedroom, and learns that his wife is having an affair with Chip. In a rage, he shows her the camera, the two argue causing Jess to seek Chip and tell him about the tape, where Bill ends up beating him up. An online video of the tape later circulates the bank, furthering Bill and Jess' embarrassment, particularly concerning Jess' offensive comments to Chip about Bill, their sex life and his penis size. Jess fears the video could ruin her father's mayoral bid and tries to conceal the news of her affair and the video from him.
Bill becomes well known as Chip's "deranged fan", with random people frequently yelling "Apologize!" at him throughout the film, a reference to him punching Chip and asking Chip to "Apologize!" while on the air. Bill moves in with Sargeant (Craig Bierko), his successful younger brother. Sargeant's boyfriend Paul (Reed Diamond) encourages Bill to take up swimming, a former pastime of Bill's. He starts doing so & it helps clear his mind. He continues mentoring the Kid, who sees the best in Bill, and the Kid devises a plan to win back Bill's wife. Introducing the lingerie salesgirl Lucy (Jessica Alba), he makes it appear as if Lucy and Bill are romantically involved, a plot to make Jess jealous. Meanwhile, Bill is still trying to get the doughnut franchise, but Jess is required as co-partner and so Bill and the Kid have Lucy act as Bill's wife.
Bill slowly begins to get a hand on his life again, cutting his addiction to sweets, losing weight, swimming daily, mentoring the Kid, and trying to win back Jess. At a family dinner, Bill volunteers to buy the fireworks for the 'club picnic' where his father-in-law intends to announce that he is running for Mayor. After a party with the Kid, Lucy and her friend, Bill attends the picnic at the golf course. At the picnic, Bill gets close to his wife and Chip. Chip promptly has security throw Bill out of the picnic (Chip has a restraining order against Bill), which the Whitmans witness. Bill tells the Kid to meet him at the back entrance, and while driving his car to the back of the golf course, he gets into a car accident, causing the fireworks to explode early. The Kid comes on a golfing cart, takes Bill to the hospital, where Jess shows up, and tells her husband that she's aware of his attempt to purchase the franchise. They end up discussing their marriage, where Bill reveals his unhappiness and his dislike of their dependence on her father's money and concludes "our lives suck". After making vague decisions, Bill goes home and stares into a mirror. Seeing what his life has become, he cuts his hair (which he despises throughout the film) and changes his wardrobe. He later visits Jacoby at his office and hands in his resignation, pointing out that he doesn't fit in nor belong in the company. His father-in-law understands and accepts his resignation. Jacoby commends Bill for attacking Chip, as he explains that he would've done the same if he were in that situation. Despite his daughter's attempt to conceal the news, Jacoby knew about her affair.
Bill meets the Whitmans and is surprised to see Jess, who is clearing up the misunderstanding. Jess convinces the Whitmans to let the couple buy the franchise. During a private conversation, Bill confesses that he was going to call off the deal. He has a change of heart and lets the purchase go through, allowing Jess to keep the business. They reconcile their differences and agree to go their separate ways, putting their house up for sale.
Bill goes to the Kid's school to bid him farewell, as he's excited to start a new, unknown chapter in his life. He says goodbye with the promise to keep in touch, and tells the Kid to look in his locker. The locker explodes with fireworks, much to the Kid's delight.
- Aaron Eckhart as Bill Anderson
- Logan Lerman as The Kid
- Jessica Alba as Lucy
- Elizabeth Banks as Jess
- Timothy Olyphant as Chip
- Craig Bierko as Sergeant (uncredited)
- Reed Diamond as Paul
- Marisa Coughlan as Laura
- Kristen Wiig as Jane Whitman
- Jason Sudeikis as Jim Whitman
- Andy Zou as Donald Choo
- Brian Schmidt as Jimmy (uncredited)
The film was shot in St. Louis, Missouri from June 11 - July 20, 2006; the school scenes of the film were shot at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) and additional scenes were filmed at Washington University in St. Louis. Scenes were also shot at: the Oberweis Dairy in Oakville, Missouri, in Dick's Sporting Goods store at West County Mall, in Des Peres, Missouri, at the Saint Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights, Missouri, and an exterior scene at Molly Brown's Fireworks in Pacific, Missouri. KPLR-TV, a St. Louis television station, is the station that Chip Johnson works for, and movie co-anchor Rick Edlund was an anchor on the station in real life. Additionally, some scenes were shot at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Missouri. Although shot in the St. Louis area, the setting of the movie is Minnesota, as indicated by the license plates of vehicles, and a "Twin Cities Realty" for-sale sign.
Re-shoots and additional scenes were shot in Los Angeles, California, after major production had finished.
The film officially premiered on September 8, 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival and was immediately picked up for distribution. It was released in limited engagement on April 4, 2008 in St. Louis and Minneapolis, with a wider release in 36 theaters on May 9, 2008.